Drs. Huda Akil and Stanley Watson at UM study the relationship between genes, behavior and the brain. Drs. Akil and Watson aim to elucidate and validate the function(s) of genes that demonstrate significant differences in expression or structure and to determine their distribution in pathways, circuits and target systems. Several tools are used in these studies. mRNA in situ hybridization (ISH) histochemistry is performed at UM and UCD to determine the anatomical and cellular distribution of discovered genes. Selected genes are further characterized by determining the structure and function of translated proteins and their regional and cellular distribution. Finally, laboratory experiments using genetically modified animals and cell cultures are conducted at UM, UCD and Stanford to elucidate the role of certain genes in specific brain circuits involved in psychotic and affective processes.
Laser Capture Microscopy
The University of Michigan has two Arcturus Molecular Devices Autopix Laser Capture Microdissection machines, one equipped with epifluorescence filters. The AutoPix LCM system captures brain regions or individual cells onto CapSure Macro LCM caps with laser settings in the mW and msec range.
The University of Michigan has two Olympus Flouview 1000 spectral laser-scanning confocal microscopes, one inverted and one upright. The microscopes are built on an Olympus BX61 computer driven microscope and equipped with a Ludl motorized X-Y stage connected to a PC running Olympus FluoView Ver1.5 software. Laser scans of 0.5μm serial Z-section planes can be visualized using a 63x objective.
For fluorescence imaging and section analysis, the Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Laboratories at Cornell Univeristy use a Nikon E600 microscope with a Microfire digital camera (Optronics), fitted with a computer with 3D motorized stage (Ludl), and Stereo Investigator software (Microbrightfield).
The University of Michigan has a Leica DMR equipped with a Sony DXC-970 MD 3chip color camera and connected to a PC running MCID Basic Image Analysis software. We also have a Leica DMR equipped with a Photometrics Coolsnapfx (Grayscale cooled CCD), encoded manual stage from Leica Microsystems and connected to a PC running MCID Elite Image Analysis software. There is also a Zeiss Axiophot stereology microscope available equipped with a X-Y-Z motorized Ludl stage, Optronics MicroFire 24 bit color CCD camera and connected to a PC running PictureFrame software and MicroBrightField’s StereoInvestigator and Neurolucida.
Equipment for Immunohistochemistry
For tissue sectioning, the Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Laboratories at Cornell Univeristy use a Leica SM2000R microtome and a Leica VT100 vibratome.